I am a little late getting around to talking about the Patheos Book Club, which is currently featuring my book, among others. As I’ve expressed to some friends, I’m always really happy to promote books I like (and I like my book!) but promoting Strange Gods has been a little daunting for me. I’m not sure how to do it without sounding like this:
Yeah, that cracks me up. But on the other hand, I’m always afraid this will happen:
So, the book club is featuring an excerpt you can read here, and Tony Rossi’s recent interview with me was so much fun, it’s being featured here, but the “Take and Read” roundtable is looking a little thin. I’m hoping that means people just got the book late, and haven’t had a chance to read/review it, (and not that they hate it and would rather remain silent — which, who knows, might be the case!) but I am very grateful for thoughtful, insightful reviews by a few Patheosi, like Elizabeth Duffy, Rebecca Hamilton, and Greg Garrett, from the Progressive Christian channel.
Outside of Patheos, Strange Gods is enjoying two really nice reviews, today. Novelist and PJMedia contributor Andrew Klavan wrote a review so kind and generous, it really made me feel very humbled, especially as his own prose in reviewing made my own seem like so much dross:
For those of us both interested in and appalled by this moment in American politics — for those like me who sometimes look at decent people in political life and wonder how on earth they can do the things they do and say the things they say — Scalia’s chapter on what she calls Super Idols (ideologies) is a small revelation.
“Determine that the opposition is not merely wrong but evil, and suddenly mere ideas become glittering certainties. These certainties give us permission to hate and tell us our hate is not just reasonable but pure. If simple idolatry blocks our view of God, the super idol — because it is so highly burnished — makes us think we are seeing God in our hatred.”
It’s easy for me to see how such super-idolatry has led our left-leaning administration into tyrannical corruption and our left-leaning media into willful blindness and dishonesty. Not so easy is acknowledging the prevalence of this tendency in right wingers as well, even, on occasion, some who look uncannily like myself.
Yeah, humbling. I spent some time doing the “I’m not worthy” thing until I remembered that with God it’s not about worthiness but about willingness, and like Barkis, I’m willin’. Still, I was ready for Style, Sex, and Substance author Hallie Lord’s jolly review (and her recommendations on curlers I must try!) in her most recent “Five Favorites”.
A Christian book that leaves ‘em laughing. I hadn’t thought of it that way. But I like it. A lot. And I’m really thankful for all the kind words.
That’s very cool. I love that this teacher reads aloud to her students (our fourth grade teacher did and I can remember how much we loved it; I can still recall whole passages of her reading because of the way it sparked the imagination). And I love that she was up for letting the kids make a film of a book they loved. No wonder Andrew Klavan is so delighted! I would be, too!
Chatted this afternoon with Melissa Clouthier and Andrew Malcolm about all of this, and also about how idolatry affects policy and social discourse. A really fun chat, and I thank Melissa and Andrew for having me as a guest! They’re splendid hosts.